Library creates tribute to Conn. victims
As Newtown, Conn., and the nation mourn those killed in last Friday’s school shooting, North Wales Area library has come up with a meaningful way to memorialize the victims.
Members of the public may donate $15, which will allow the library to purchase a new first-grade-level book. On the blank page at the front of the book or on the inside cover, the library will affix a special bookplate with the image of an angel, the name of one of the victims and, if requested, the name of the individual or family who donated the book in their honor.
“It’s a just small thing we can do,” library Director Jayne Blackledge said. “It’s a really nice way to memorialize the victims that will be lasting, and it could be a nice time for parents to talk to their children about safety.”
The funds will not be sent to the victims’ families; the community has been flooded with donations, Blackledge said. The idea is for the books to remain in the library so that the local community can remember the victims in a quiet, powerful way.
Librarian Regina Radigan put together a wish list of award-winning, first-gradelevel books, such as “King Arthur’s Very Great Grand- son” by Kenneth Kraegel. Donors may pick a book from the list, or they can let the library choose.
Library officials wanted to focus on popular books because they’d be signed out most often, and the me- morials would reach more people.
“The children were all students, and here at the library, we’re all about learning,” Blackledge said. “Being in the education business, it tugged at our heartstrings, and we want people to feel like they can do a little something so these children will not be forgotten.”
One donor heard that one of the victims liked horses, so a book with a horse theme was picked to honor that child, she said.
Their goal is for the library to purchase 2S books, or one book per victim — adult victims included — and from the response they’ve had so far, that goal is within reach. The staff developed the idea Monday afternoon and announced it on social media. By Tuesday morning, five people had made donations and others have expressed interest.
Standing at the checkout counter at the library, Cherie Noble of North Wales said she planned on making a donation.
“My grandson is in first grade, that’s it,” she said as she turned away, her voice filled with emotion.
Noticing one of the signs announcing the memorial books, Margie Maher asked about it at the counter, then said she planned on telling her daughter about it.
“I think it’s a beautiful thing to do,” she said, holding the hand of her 1-yearold granddaughter, Lia. “People are looking for a way to help and this is a great idea.”
The library will be accepting donations for the books until Jan. 1T. For more information, call 215-S99-5410.
North Wales Area Library Director Jayne Blackledge reads to youngsters during a story hour at the library Tuesday.
Librarian Regina Radigan, left, answers Margie Maher’s question about the book donation program at the library.
A sign is on display at the North Wales Area Library to alert visitors of the book donation drive.